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Getting deeds back from solicitor

How can we get deeds back from a Solicitor? He is owed money but we dispute the bill as most of it was incurred by someone else. We want to sell the house but he refuses to hand over the deeds. We can’t sell the house without the deeds but he is demanding the money first. We don’t have it. As he is making us pay someone else’s bill - we are going to the Law Society -can he refuse to give the deeds back? They are not his property. Upset. Cork.

We have had this question on the programme a number of times and I have always compared it to bringing your car into a garage to be repaired. When the car is ready you’re expected to settle the bill and if the garage isn’t paid it is under no obligation to release the car as it holds a lien on the car. It is exactly the same with title deeds.

If you are going to the Law Society, ask them to try and broker a deal with the Solicitor. If you are selling the property it is possible for the new Solicitor who will be handling the sale to give the Solicitor a written undertaking that the money will be paid over out of the proceeds of the sale of the property. This undertaking would be a written guarantee by the Solicitor selling the property that he or she will meet the bill when the house is sold. www.lawsociety.ie

If you are actually disputing the amount of the bill you can ask the Solicitor to have the bill assessed by the Taxing Master who will examine the amount in the bill in detail and fix the appropriate final amount, which is binding. 

The issues raised in the answer to this NewsTalk listener's question are dealt with in a general way as can only be the case on live radio. Before relying on the advice given in this answer, whether you heard the broadcast or are for the first time reading the issues here please do not rely on the broad advice given. For a detailed professional opinion please consult a qualified legal advisor and for further details read our disclaimer on the Home Page.

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